What’s up, grinches!?
SN&R’s second-annual heart-two-sizes-too-small awards
Christmas is over and so, thank God, is 2011. It would have been a better year, if not for all the people who lied and cheated and used pepper spray on and otherwise damaged their fellow man.
There was the murderous Bashar al-Assad types, along with lesser villains. Who knew Arnold Schwarzenegger would turn out to be a sleaze?
There were lots local scoundrels and scrooges, too.
Here’s our list of (just a few of) the grinches of Sacramento 2011, the folks who made life just a little less merry for the rest of us. Humbug.
No park for you
Doug Ose acted the Grinch when he packed Sacramento County’s prized Gibson Ranch, a 345-acre public regional park and wildlife area, into his grinchy sack and made off with it, goats and all. The county Board of Supervisors acted as the Grinch’s ridiculous little dog, helping him to rob Whoville (that’s us) blind in the dead of night.
Ose wants to build a pet motel, a track for remote-control toys, a tree farm and sundry other money-making operations on his newly privatized park. Did we hear something about a shooting range? The best/worst part is that we taxpayers helped Ose with his heist, giving him lease of the park for just $1. In fact, the county is going to pay him tens of thousands of dollars every year toward the maintenance of the park. Merry Christmas, suckers. (C.G.)
Cop of the year
For a guy who did pretty much everything wrong, Lt. John Pike really had some great moves. The way, for instance, he so gracefully stepped over the line of student protesters on UC Davis’ quad—even though they allegedly were blocking the police’s escape route. Or how, upon brandishing his canister of pepper spray, he so coolly displayed it to throng of activists and onlookers, then strutted, as if on the verge of pulling off some David Copperfield shit. And, you know, perhaps he was a hairstylist in a former life; such impressive distribution of spray. In all seriousness, we were of course alarmed by this show of force. But damn, Pike, that’s not just grinchy: That’s Swag Grinch. (N.M.)
You raise ’em, they cage ’em
This was the year folks took a look at the newly formed Twin Rivers Unified School District and thought, “What have we done?” First, it was the grand jury report that the district board of trustees said was plagued by “animosity and negativity,” and that the school curriculum is “fragmented at best.”
Then, there was the shooting of a Twin Rivers police officer and the subsequent death of the suspect in Sacramento police custody. That raised questions about why the campus cops were pulling traffic stops and towing vehicles from campus. Complaints started to surface about how the department treats community members, and to top it off, there were revelations the Twin Rivers Police Officers Association was selling T-shirts sporting a picture of a small child locked in a cage and a printed slogan reading “U raise ’em, we cage ’em.”
We’re normally down with humanitarian causes, but there was nothing humane about the political brouhaha that engulfed the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op for the better part of 2011. A grassroots effort to boycott Israeli products created a vitriolic circus atmosphere outside the normally hippiefied grocery scene. Boycott organizers protested in cardboard box helmets, a local Jewish rights official dropped the N-word (Nazi) four times in one sentence, anonymous attacks were waged with sidewalk graffiti and the cops were called. Again and again. It ended with co-op members voting to amend the bylaws so something like this can’t happen again. Meanwhile, Trader Joe’s wonders what the hell it has to do to get some street cred around here. (R.H.)
Microwaving your baby = eating pork
This grinch falls into the “We’d love to be friends, but you’re an asshat” category, and it goes to the paragon of bad taste in the name of a good cause: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA. It long ago crossed the line from aggressive-in-its-methods to offensive-in-its-methods. But in June, the folks at PETA pulled a really sick one on Sacramento. Just days after a tragic case in which the possibly mentally ill mother of a 7-week-old killed her infant in a microwave, PETA put up a billboard equating the case with nuking a pork chop. Yeah, because the difference between a pork chop and an infant is such a fine line, right? In any case, PETA gets our grinch nod because of its appalling lack of compassion and perspective. No matter how good the cause—and animal rights is a good cause—that crappy ad came from a heart two sizes too small. (K.M.)
Maloofs take Kings to Disneyland
In the “What’s up, grinches!?” handbook, there are a few automatic grinch qualifiers. Clause No. 12 reads: “Wherein any individual or entity attempts to move the Kings from the greater Sacramento region, a grinch they most certainly are.” And so, brothers Joe and Gavin Maloof—for trying to wrestle the royals from Natomas to Anaheim—both earned grinch stripes in 2011. And they’re broke. And they’re humiliated owners among NBA-ownership elite. And every time they show face in town, fans either ignore them or hate on them like Lakers. Good one, fellas. (N.M.)
MacGlashan bans smoking in Orangevale
Sacramento County banned medical-cannabis clubs this year, but this wasn’t initially the master plan. At first, the board of supervisors was going to allow a handful of clubs as part of an urgency ordinance. But board Chairwoman Roberta MacGlashan was pushing for an outright ban behind the scenes all along. And—with a little help from the feds—in the end, she won. MacGlashan gets a grinch award, though, for her tactics, such as mobilizing a select group of Orangevale residents, “MacGlashan’s Marauders,” to make public comment at 420-related meetings. And for rejecting a political middle ground when it came to medical pot in the county. Because, really, it’s just pot. (N.M.)
Mallrats’ bake fail
There was sort of a pandemic of Sacramento dog owners leaving canines in sizzling vehicles while shopping at places such as Arden Fair mall this year. This happened three times in a week during the toasty month of September, including a Great Dane left in a car by a resident at the UC Davis small-animal hospital. There’s no clause pertaining to such canine abuse in the “What’s up, grinches!?” handbook, but surely it’ll be added in 2012, thanks to these bros. (N.M.)
UC Davis head regrets protesters ‘chose not to work’ with Pepper Spray Cop
Chancellor Linda Katehi says she did not give campus police a green light to use force to break up protests at UC Davis on November 18, day of the infamous pepper-spray incident. But she didn’t immediately denounce its tactics, either.
Everyone knows what happened that afternoon just after 4 p.m. What most people don’t know is that later in the evening, around 9 p.m., Katehi sent out an email to UC Davis employees that in many ways is at odds with her current talking points.
The email said protesters were informed in writing on Friday morning to remove all tents. When they did not, Katehi wrote that she had no other “option but to ask the police to assist in their removal.”
Did Katehi not realize that she was in fact requesting dozens of riot-clad officers sporting helmets, guns and chemical weapons to regulate her own students, as had occurred months earlier during the dismantling of a sit-in at Sacramento State?
The Friday email did not condemn the use of pepper spray or police force. In fact, Katehi criticized student activists for their lack of cooperation with Lt. John Pike and Co.: “We deeply regret that many of the protestors today chose not to work with our campus staff and police,” her email read.
The next day, Saturday—after YouTube videos of Pepper Spray Cop had gone viral—a new Katehi email emerged with a new attitude: “Friday was not a day that would make anyone on our campus proud,” it began.
Too little, too late, grinch. (N.M.)
We really hate to pick on talk radio, mostly because it’s so lame to start with. But local sports-talk radio jock Don Geronimo—he’s got the morning show on KHTK—has managed to grinch-out Sacramento’s airwaves. First, he picked a fight with local comedian Keith Lowell Jensen—for no good reason, really. Then, Geronimo sank lower by using his airtime to trash Tesla bassist Brian Wheat. The local band was playing a couple of songs—for free!—at a rally to keep the Kings in town. But he didn’t trash Wheat’s bass playing or Tesla’s still-metal-ish sound. Nope, Geronimo out-douched the douches by picking on Wheat for being on the heavy side. Because it’s not like people tend to pack on a few in middle age, right, Don, you ultralean dude—oh, wait. You’re just like almost everybody else over 40, which makes you a grinch for bagging on your own. (K.M.)